8 Oct 2014

Beyond Rotherham: what to do about child sex exploitation

If you are worried about child sex exploitation in your area, here are some guidelines about how to spot it and what to do about it, from a leading charity.

What is child sexual exploitation (CSE)?

The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) may receive “something” (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities.

Who might be a victim?

Any young person, boy or girl and from any sector of society can be a victim of CSE. But there are children who may be at greater risk due to their circumstances.

What are some of the signs a child could be a victim?

Running away/missing from home
Suicide and suicide attempts
Sexualised behviour
Self blame (big problem even with succes)
Repeated absence from school
Bully as a victim or perpetrator
Disruptive or challenging behaviour

Read more in our investigation into the scale of child sex exploitation in England

If you suspect someone is a victim, what do you next?

Contact your local council’s child protection number (you should be able to find this online).
Contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
Have a look at NWG Network for more information or for further contacts (the information on this page is provided by them).

Where are young people likely to be initially groomed?

Any area where young people congregate in the absence of parental supervision or where they can easily be accessed, including:

Shopping centres
Social networks and game sites
Areas with no parental supervision e.g. fairground, circus, rollerball, parks, cinema complexes
Takeaway food outlets
Sheesha (Hookah) bars
Alcohol outlets including corner shops with liquor licenses: effective use of licensing officers can disrupt
Taxi drivers
“Mascots” (people dressed up as friendly animals)

What methods are used to groom or enforce exploitation on the victims?

It should be recognised that there is always power imbalance and the perpetrators have control over their victims. The child is often encouraged to believe they are in control of the relationship. Methods may include

Presents: especially in the grooming phase
Drugs: either supply or paying off drug debt
Food treats
Rewards e.g. mobile phone top ups
Psychological cultural control (magic, religion etc)
Paying off debt
Physical violence
Mental manipulation

Find out more: go to NWG Network's website